Is the peace through prosperity initiative truly a game-changing plan that will change the future of the region? Jared Kushner has led the charge for this plan via high-level meetings in Bahrain with leaders of the more moderate Arabs in the Middle East. The basic concept of the plan is to invest enormous amounts of money into infrastructure and modernization. The idea is that this would bring the Arabs of the Middle East into a situation where prosperity, or the promise of prosperity, would literally upend the status quo of Arabs living in squalor. This, in turn would change the norms where anti-Israel passions are the most passionate values of Arabs in Israel. The hope is that financial prosperity would become the most powerful value instead. Is this realistic? Is there any reason to assume that the billions of dollars invested in infrastructure would actually be used as they are intended?
The goal of peace through prosperity is very lofty. It is an excellent idea. But, the premise that the Arabs in the Middle East who are educated on hatred will change their opinions due to dreams of upward financial mobility seems to be rather detached from reality. It seems that this may be a futile attempt to take American passions and attempt to impose them on Middle Eastern people. But let’s be more optimistic. Maybe there is indeed something so powerful in the modern day and age so as to be able to make massive changes rather quickly with massive investments from the West.
But there is one part of the plan which absolutely needs to be removed. There should not be any form of a connection made between Arabs in Gaza to Arabs in the West Bank ( of the Jordan river). The Arabs in the West Bank do not pose an existential threat to the State of Israel – both demographically and any other way. There are around 1-1.5 million Arabs who live in the heartland of the Land of Israel, and there are around 500,000 Jew who live in these areas. Israel’s policy should be to massively build Jewish communities in these areas. They are the most important areas of the State of Israel, historically, strategically, and practically. There is no area in the State that is closer to Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, the two major metropolis’ of the State. All issues of a housing shortage in Israel can be solved if Israel annexes these areas. The Arabs in these areas should be given three choices. Stay, be loyal, and vote. Leave with major financial incentives, or stay as they are today with no change to the status quo.
Israel’s greatest thorn in their side is the Gaza Strip. That area is a mess. It is not a ghetto, but it is a mess. If there is any place that could be transformed with major investment into a touristy area, it is the Gaza Strip. But, first, a major effort needs to be put in to shift the mindset of the Arabs who live there. IS this possible in the short-term? Probably not. But, who knows, maybe a few billion dollars can do something to shift the minds of people who claim their leadership is corrupt to the core.